Finding the right wheelchair van conversion can take time.
Sometimes for our customers it’s a routine purchase as they have bought a few wheelchair vans in their lifetime. For others, it is their first time purchasing a wheelchair van and there may be a lot of mixed emotion with the purchase.
Everyone has different needs and preferences for a wheelchair van. It’s not always a one size fits all type of purchase. The five tips below serve as a road map on how to find the right wheelchair van for you and your family or organization.
Tip #1 – Know your budget range ahead of time
Buying vehicles these days has become very easy. Auto manufacturers have created a lot of different programs to help their customer when it comes time to making a new vehicle purchase. You see and hear different specials advertised all the time about extended payment terms, low interest rates or other incentives. When finding the right wheelchair van conversion, similar programs may be available to help keep costs manageable.
In addition to your typical finance/lease/cash options, 3rd party funding may be available through different government programs, veteran programs or private foundations. In the end, these options allow you the option to buy the wheelchair van that works for you. It’s important to be open to all kinds of options as sometimes the urgency in needing a van can outweigh waiting to see if 3rd party funding will come through.
One of the most important things to keep in mind, is the amount of money (pre-tax or post tax), you want to spend either on a monthly basis through a finance type program or total amount you want to spend on the van and wheelchair van conversion. This figure is very important as it helps the dealer find wheelchair van options that fit within your budget. As important as it is to know your budget, it is also important to be open to have your budget be a bit flexible. Sometimes the vehicle you need is not available in your budget. For example, if you need a van with a swivel seat, hand controls and power side entry, this is a vehicle that will run in the $60,000+ range depending on the type of van.
Tip #2 – Have an idea about which entry method would work
Side entry vans tend to be $10-15,000 more than a rear entry wheelchair van conversion. This is because the modification for a side entry van is much more intense than a rear entry van. You can learn more about side entry conversions by visiting our vendors site, Vantage Mobility here.
It’s important to know how the van will be driven and who will be driving it. If the plan is for someone else to drive the vehicle, that will help keep your options open.
Another factor to consider is where the wheelchair van will be parked. If your plan is to park a side entry van into a small, single garage, the passenger in the wheelchair will have a very hard time getting out (the ramp may not fully deploy) or they will have to get out on the driveway.
Lastly, it is important to be open to different wheelchair van conversion options. Options may be available that would work really well for your situation.
Tip #3 – Know which features are important to you
Not only is the wheelchair van conversion you want or need important to consider but it’s also important to know what vehicle features are important to you. Do you do a lot of talking on the phone while driving? If so, a blue tooth option may be something you need. Do you have little kids that like to watch movies or TV shows while in the van? An entertainment package with a DVD player would be a feature that would be necessary.
Depending on what you want or need in the wheelchair van, it can sometimes take a bit to find the right vehicle to meet your needs. As well, certain features like heated steering wheels typically are only available on the higher end models of vans.
Tip #4 – Know when you want to be driving the vehicle
You may not necessarily need your wheelchair van tomorrow but you may need it in a week or a month from now. Sometimes, vans are ready to go and can be taken right away. In other situations, lead-time may be needed to do the the wheelchair van conversion. Depending on the type of entry method and where the wheelchair van conversion is being done, this can take three months (or more).
Knowing the date you want to be driving the vehicle can make things a lot easier but will be a big influence on the type of van and entry method you go with in the end.
Tip #5 – Rely on your own experience
It’s good to rely on past experience. You most likely had experience in riding in different types of conversions and van models. Even if you may not have had the best experience riding in a certain type of conversion, it is good to explore your options. For example, a long cut rear entry wheelchair van conversion rides a lot different than a short cut rear entry wheelchair van conversion where you don’t feel apart of the group and are riding in the back.
Taking the time to think about these tips prior to choosing a wheelchair van conversion will save you both time and stress when making a decision. You will be able to have confidence in knowing what you want and at the same time be ready to answer the questions the dealer will have for you.
Are you thinking about buying a wheelchair van now and would like to get a personalized quote? Fill in the form below to get one.